CEO Update 8 May 2022

Hull Preservation | Only 3 Weeks Left

We are extremely grateful for everyone who has donated to the hull preservation campaign. Your generosity has supported the efforts of our crew taking on the immense job at hand, but we remain quite a distance from hitting our goal by the close of Memorial Day Weekend. 

You can still help.

To support the project and very foundation of our museum and organization, donations can be made by clicking the button below, mailing a check to Pacific Battleship Center, 250 S. Harbor Blvd., San Pedro, CA 90731 (memo: hull preservation), and by spreading the word to raise awareness.

CEO Update 8 May 2022


Happy Mother’s Day from the crew at the National Museum of the Surface Navy and the Battleship IOWA. This year Mother’s Day takes place on May 8th, the 77th anniversary of the day the world celebrated the formal acceptance by the Allies of Germany’s unconditional surrender, ending World War II in Europe. As each of us celebrates Mother’s Day in 2022, parts of Europe are in turmoil once again, reminding us that freedom is not free.

On this Mother’s Day, I along with many other members of the team are steadfastly working on the upcoming LA Fleet Week. LA Fleet Week’s non-public events begin on May 24th with a breakfast celebrating Congresswoman Barragan’s efforts in obtaining the National Museum of the Surface Navy designation. Breakfast will be followed immediately by the inaugural Freedom of the Seas Maritime Leadership Symposium. 

As the week progresses, the experience will ramp up with events focused on community resiliency, relationship building, public engagement, education, environmental sustainability, displays and exhibits, entertainment, military bands, ship tours, aerial demonstrations and much more. The public event opens on Friday, May 27th from 10:00am to 6:00pm and continues daily through Monday, May 30th. 

As I review the schedule, there are several hundred sub-events occurring including community relations and morale boosting activities, military bands playing at iconic regional venues, competitions, leadership engagements, and more.  I am humbled by the amount of work by an enormous team of professionals from numerous organizations including those from our military branches (Navy, Marines, Army, and Coast Guard), Port of Los Angeles, City of Los Angeles, Port of Los Angeles Police, LA Fire Department, LA Fleet Week Foundation, Battleship IOWA, Bob Hope USO, LA Police Department, AltaSea, Collier Walsh Nakazawa, and many more. 

LA Fleet Week is a dynamic Los Angeles event, and I couldn’t be prouder to see what the planning team has put together for Fleet Week’s return to Los Angeles on a new date in 2022!

Over the past several weeks, we hosted numerous events – including two weddings – in our vastly improved venue on the fantail. Battleship IOWA has become very popular with these types of gatherings, in addition to school field trips and outings scheduled over the next month.

As we enter the summer, the travel season picks up and families begin seeking fun, entertaining activities for their children. To fill this need, our Education Team created the Summer STEM Adventure Camp that runs Monday thru Friday from 9am to 12pm with STEM oriented activities. 

These activities are separated by grade with a focus on successful construction, operation, and maintenance of the ship. If you are interested in more detail, please email our Education Manager Tiffany Ellerbeck at

Our efforts to stay ahead of the never-ending maintenance of a steel ship in water continues. The team remains focused on sustaining the ship despite the challenges of salt water and funding. The crew is passionate about striving to prevent major catastrophic situations like those that have been seen across the country. They are innovative in everything they do, and I am proud of what they can accomplish through the entire organization on a fraction of the budget seen at similar institutions. 

Recently, after investing a significant amount of time and personal resources into the restoration, a team of dedicated crew members reopened the signal shack. Our deepest appreciation and bravo zulu to Rich Abele, Chris Barker, Orlo Brown, David Canfield, Daniel Jones, Robert Jones, Gary Lopes, Matt Orlich, George Sliney, Neil Stoddard, Fred Van Allen, Dave Way, and Andy Wolsey for taking on this project and bringing life to an area of the ship.

Every day I am fascinated to see the breadth of activity occurring by our dedicated crew; a crew that believes in our nation’s future, passion for giving back to veterans, and a welcoming spirit that strengthens our community.

I am having to work to convince myself that the noise from the needle guns reverberating on the hull is like the sound of music, though. If anything, it is a constant reminder of our team’s dedication to preserving IOWA for the future.


Expanding into the National Museum of the Surface Navy is critical to our evolution to reach a broader audience across our nation. IOWA is an incredible ship, but she is more than just “a” ship. She is an iconic symbol of everything our Surface Navy has stood for since 1775. 

Our program pillars are in alignment with the contributions that our Surface Navy provides to our nation, including anti-piracy, safe passage of trade and commerce, and humanitarian assistance. A strong Surface Navy is more important than ever in ensuring that our maritime-reliant nation can remain vibrant and strong.

As Covid-19 protocols have been reduced, we have seen the return of donors and supporters visiting to see the progress of the expansion. Space preparation work is in programs, meetings with designers are in process, and efforts to be the immersive experience of the future are on the way.  As we begin to narrow in on experienced designers, the magic of the IOWA continues to deliver: several talented and innovative designers have shown interest in being a part of this evolutionary, immersive experience. LA Fleet Week has slowed us down slightly, but we continue to plug ahead on the National Museum expansion and are hopeful that the designer will be on board very soon!

In closing, my apologies for being a week late with my message. I have been overcome by the exciting, yet overwhelming number of meetings and tasks in the lead up to Fleet Week.  This condition is nothing new, but I have set my mind and body on continuing my workout routine, despite the hectic schedule. 

Over the past week, a temporary case of Fleet-Week-Itis has made its first appearance since 2019 and while exhilarating, it has resulted in significantly shortened sleeping schedules. Although sleep is minimal and stress is increased, I continue to win against the eating (and drinking) temptations and have remained steadfastly intent on my workout routine (despite not being able to find a gym open early enough). 

Occasionally I receive a note or comment from a supporter who follows us about how I have inspired them. Those notes and comments inspire me to continue taking on weight loss, diet, anxiety, and stress despite how hard it can get. These comments inspire the team, as we tackle the day-to-day challenges of life with generosity and excitement.

As I have learned more about the impact of nutrition and exercise, I have been able to win my battle against diabetes, depression, anxiety, and may be considered very healthy. I may have possibly reversed the advanced course of aging and deterioration and added years to enjoy with my family and help others take on their challenges. I am thankful that I realized before it was too late; only I can make the choice to live the best life. 

My wishes to each of you as you take on whatever your challenges may be this week and in the future!

Jonathan Williams
President and CEO



P.S. Speaking of our personal challenges, our latest podcast episode is available now. It features ship’s electrician, George Musulin and his journey, both personally and with the ship. Click the link below to check it out or find it wherever you download podcasts.

NOTE: If you prefer not to donate electronically, please mail your check to:
Attention: Development Department, 250 S. Harbor Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90731
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